Raptors atop Eastern Conference after routing winless 76ers
It wasn’t so much the outcome that mattered to coach Dwane Casey in the Toronto Raptors’ victory over Philadelphia. It was way they got there.
DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points, Terrence Ross had 17 and the Raptors routed the winless 76ers 120-88 Sunday night for their sixth victory in seven games.
Casey praised his players for taking "a very professional approach" against the struggling Sixers.
"Everybody got excited about the dunks and all that," Casey said. "I was more excited about some of our execution, defensively and offensively. That’s the most important thing, more so than the final score."
DeRozan echoed his coach’s comments, saying he was pleased to see the Raptors maintain their intensity from start to finish.
"We didn’t let up at any point," DeRozan said. "We didn’t give them any hope."
Lou Williams added a season-high 16 against his former team and Kyle Lowry had 14 for the Raptors, who are alone atop the Eastern Conference for the first time in their 20-year history. They were tied for first in November 2004.
"They are one of the best teams in the East right now," 76ers guard Tony Wroten said. "They played great tonight."
Toronto set a season high in points against the 76ers, who were even worse defensively than when they allowed 118 points against Chicago on Friday.
"We came in here and we got manhandled," 76ers coach Brett Brown said. "They have elite athletes who can score and we got jumped."
Wroten scored 18 points and Chris Johnson had 16 for the 76ers, who lost for the 70th time in their past 86 regular-season games.
Philadelphia is off to its worst start since the 1972-73 season, when it was 0-15 on the way to setting an NBA record for futility by finishing with 73 losses.
"I felt like we got dispirited for the first time," Brown said. "We didn’t do anything we talked about on offense in regards to sharing the ball. I thought it got ugly quick."
The 76ers haven’t won in Toronto since Nov. 10, 2012, losing their past four at Air Canada Centre. Toronto has won five straight overall against Philadelphia.
"We kind of let them do whatever they wanted," Philadelphia’s Henry Sims said.
Toronto made 24 consecutive free throw attempts before Williams missed the first of two with 1:37 left in the third quarter. Williams made the second for the Raptors, who finished 27 for 30 at the line.
The 76ers scored the game’s opening basket but never led again. DeRozan had nine points in the first as the Raptors led 33-20. Williams scored 10 points in the second to give Toronto a 60-45 lead at the half.
DeRozan scored 13 points in the third and Williams capped the quarter with a buzzer-beating jump shot as the Raptors took a commanding 88-63 lead into the fourth.
76ers: C Nerlens Noel (left ankle) missed his second straight game. Noel and Michael Carter-Williams (right shoulder) could return for Philadelphia’s next game, Thursday at Dallas. … Brown was called for a technical foul in the first.
Raptors: F Amir Johnson, whose sore left ankle flared up in the third quarter of Friday’s win over Washington, returned to the starting lineup. … Toronto matched a season high with 60 first-half points. … The Raptors committed 12 turnovers in the first half, one shy of their previous season worst for a full game. They finished with 20.
This was the first of three consecutive Raptors games to be aired by an American television network. Last season, Toronto made only one regular season appearance on U.S. television.
DeRozan wowed the crowd of 18,470 by executing a 360 degree spin move to beat Sims and score a short jumper midway through the third.
Toronto has started 4-0 at home for the first time since the 2003-04 season. Toronto has gone 25-7 in home regular-season games since Jan. 1, 2014.